You've just returned from a fabulous, relaxing vacation and suddenly you're bombarded with a deluge of emails, meetings and phone calls. While you may be tempted to grab your bag and head back to the beach, Toronto-based business and life coach Joshua Zuchter says there are a few things you can do to ease your way back into your work daily routine without ruining your post-vacation bliss.
• Take two-minute mini-vacations. It's just as important to ease back into your work routine as it is to pace yourself when returning to the gym after a few weeks off. "When you go on vacation, you're changing your pace," says Zuchter. Taking short breaks throughout the day to clear your head or go for a short walk can make the transition to your work routine less aggressive. "Otherwise, whatever [stress-relief] you gained from your vacation is lost in the first day," says Zuchter.
Related: Need a Vacation? 4 Steps to a Business That Thrives Without You
• Get a handle on e-mail backlog. Facing a full inbox can be daunting. Scan for emails that can easily be deleted and tackle the rest one at a time, either responding or filing them in relevant folders. If you use Microsoft Outlook, move the window up so you can only see one email at a time to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
• Assign catch up time into your schedule. Schedule your away notice to indicate your return date as one day later than it actually is. Use that extra day to process your email backlog and catch up on administration activities. While coworkers and employees may know your true return day, tell them that the day is for catch-up only and that they should treat it as though you're still away. That means no meetings or phone calls.
• Stay hydrated. If you think four cups of coffee is the way to keep you alert during your first day back, think again. Caffeine is a diuretic and will dehydrate you, making you feel drained of energy and on edge. Zuchter says keeping a water bottle next to your desk is the answer. "Drinking optimal amounts of water makes a huge difference in people's mental health and attitude," he says.
• Spruce up your office. Bring vacation memories into the workplace to remind you of the calm you felt while away. "Our environment affects our state of mind," says Zuchter. Posting photos of you relaxing on the beach with your family or swinging form a zip-line in the jungle can help you stay level-headed and less stressed.
And if you find yourself daydreaming about your next vacation, remember to give yourself a leg up when you return next time. Set up email and voice notifications, delegate tasks and make a plan to manage the backlog before you leave. "The more organized you are before you leave, the easier it will be when you return," says Zuchter.